Tag Archives: Paramount Pictures

Cinema Dispatch: Playing with Fire

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Playing with Fire and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Andy Fickman

There are SO many movies that I needed to catch up on.  I could have seen Midway, Harriet, Black and Blue, but nope!  Given the opportunity to catch up on SOMETHING that might have had some sort of message or Oscar aspirations, I went with the John Cena family film.  You may not agree with the choices I make, but I stand by them.  ANYWAY!  Mr. Cena hasn’t had quite the meteoric rise to stardom as his wrestling counterpart Dwayneson The Rockson Johnson, but his comparably sparse filmography is compensated with a lot of quality films.  The Marine was a fantastic little B action film, he got a lot of praise for his appearances in Trainwreck and Sisters, and Blockers is an uproarious funny comedy with a lot of heart where he manages to hold his own against seasoned veterans such as Ike Barinholtz and Leslie Mann!  Okay, he had a brief role in Daddy’s Home 2, but no one’s IMDb page is spotless.  The point is that John Cena seems to be following the same trajectory as Daniel Radcliffe or even his wrestling contemporary Dave Bautista; people who have already made all their money and so they can be choosy and experimental with the roles they decide to take.  The question then becomes, is there something in this Nickelodeon comedy about firemen watching a bunch of bratty children that rightfully drew Cena to the role, or is this a huge misstep for a guy who’s been savvy enough to avoid them for the most part?  Let’s find out!!

Jake Carson (John Cena) is the head of a unit of Smokejumpers in the California wilderness; saving lives, looking cool, and never wavering from their sense of duty!  Cena in particular has a bright future ahead of him as the current Commander of the state’s Smokejumpers (Denis Haysbert) is looking to retire soon and Cena is on his short list, so all he has to do is make sure his firehouse located deep in the forest is ship shape and ready to impress!  With his faithful crew of Mark, Rodrigo, and Axe (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, and Tyler Mane) working hard to keep things in order, there’s no WAY he’ll blow this opportunity… right?  Well as it turns out they get a call about a burning cabin in the woods where they find three children, Brynn, Will, and Zoey (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery, and Finley Rose Slater), unharmed and yet without their parents nearby.  Since Jake and his crew were the first on the scene, it is incumbent upon them to keep these kids safe at the firehouse until their parents turn up which turns out to be no small task for the rigid and humorless Jake who soon learns just how easily he can lose control of the situation!  Can these four smoke jumping superhero dudes survive a weekend with three bratty kids?  Are they REALLY this obnoxious for seemingly no reason, or is one of them actually scheming behind their backs and looking for the right opportunity to strike?  Seriously, if you were caught in a fire and needed rescuing, wouldn’t you want these guys to do it?  John Cena, Obama’s anger translator, Luigi from the Mario Bros movie, and the guy who played Michael Myers?

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This is like the best fan fiction I never knew I desperately needed…

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Cinema Dispatch: Terminator: Dark Fate

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Terminator: Dark Fate and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Tim Miller

Terminator Genisys came out right when I started reviewing movies for this website and BOY was I being thrown into the deep end as far as having to write about wretched movies!  The fact that someone is actually trying to come back from that disaster is either a show of great arrogance or of great faith in the material because you couldn’t possibly have salted the Earth in a worse way than with that piece of self-aware trash; even if you get James Cameron back as a producer.  Dude produces a lot of thing is what I’m saying!  Do you remember Sanctum?  Of course not.  ANYWAY!  Does this new attempt to breathe life into this franchise produce at least one more fun adventure, or would we have had a better chance getting this to work again if we stuck it in a bag of rice?  Let’s find out!!

Decades after Doomsday was avoided and Skynet was destroyed, the world seems to be at… well I wouldn’t call the current situation PEACE, but we’re staving off the techno-apocalypse for the time being if nothing else.  Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is just going through her day to day life of helping her brother with his music, taking care of her sick dad, and working at a car factory (that’s what those things are called, right?) when things start to get a bit strange.  Her dad shows up out of nowhere at her job, some giant blonde lady shoots him in the face right in front of her, and then it turns out dear old dad was a robot.  This seems bad even by Monday standards, but she goes along with the gun toting woman named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) who informs her that her chances of living are contingent upon her ability to be depart with her post  haste!  It doesn’t take long for Dani to learn (and even less time to accept) that she is in fact being hunted down by future robots who want her dead for some very important reason, and that Grace is a cybernetically enhanced human from the future as well who was sent to protect her.  She certainly makes a game effort of outrunning the robot (Gabriel Luna), but this dude is a K-Reve unit which is basically a SUPER T-800 combined with a SUPER T-1000 and it doesn’t take long for their backs to be at the wall.  If ONLY there was a character from this franchise that could save them before it’s too late!  Oh that’s right!  They threw a bunch of money at Linda Hamilton so Sarah Connor comes in JUST at the right moment to save the two of them and buy them all some time to regroup, figure out what’s going, on and how they can stop this latest threat to the future.  Can Grace fulfill her duty of protecting Dani from this mechanical menace, and why was she chosen for such an important mission?  What is Sarah Connor’s role in all of this, and what has she been up to since the events of T2?   Is Schwarzenegger’s role in this a cleverly explained bit of time travel trickery, or is the will of the producers of Paramount Pictures the most powerful force in this Terminator universe?

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“I’ll give you ‘Put that cookie down’, ‘It’s not a tumor’, and ‘My body, my choice’, but ‘Hasta la vista baby’?  THAT’S gonna cost you.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Gemini Man

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Gemini Man and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Ang Lee

So the Will Smith Renaissance hasn’t quite gone as well as say the McConaissance, but his uptick in roles in the last few years has been pretty enjoyable for the most part with him being one of the best parts of the trashy fun Suicide Squad, and as bad as Bright was he did have pretty good chemistry with Joel Edgerton.  Now he’s working with either his best or his worst co-star of all time… HIMSELF!  Does this action spectacular with Will Smith fighting Will Smith turn out to be one of the best movies of the year, or did the good parts of this movie begin and end with its sill premise?  Let’s find out!!

Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is just like every other aged government assassin who wants to retire and live the rest of his life in leisure, but of course something happens where the government decides that the one thing they should try to do to the unkillable solider is try to kill him.  The reason given here is that he stumbles upon some information that could eventually lead to him finding out about a mysterious project known as GEMINI, and the director of the project Clay (Clive Owen) doesn’t want him finding out more.  After barely escaping with his life and the life of the government agent tasked to keep an eye on him Dani (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he starts searching for clues and calling in favors from all his contacts to get to the bottom of what it is that Clay is so desperate to hide from him.  Well at least part of the answer comes a lot sooner than he expected as he starts getting chased by another assassin called Junior (Will Smith) who bears a striking resemblance to Henry circa 1991.  Can Henry survive long enough to find out just what Clay was up to and maybe even spare Junior in the process?  What will Junior do now that he’s starting to learn the truth?  Will he stay loyal to Clay and GEMINI or are these revelations enough for him to question everything he knows and the people he has trusted his whole life?  If they could just clone people in this world, why haven’t they ACTUALLY cloned Will Smith and tried to make a GOOD version of Wild Wild West?  At least make a version of the Matrix with him!

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“Whoa… My life is getting flipped; turned upside down!”     “No, that will be when you make Collateral Beauty.”

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Cinema Dispatch: Crawl

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Crawl and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Alexandre Aja

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an alligator (or crocodile movie) before.  Heck, we can probably throw snakes in there too now that I think about it.  Not even Snakes on a plane!  It’s an entire sub genre of horror that just kind of passed me by, but I guess now is as good a time as any; especially considering how lackluster my year for horror has been.  What; were expecting a review from ANOTHER film by the guy who made Hereditary?  Yeah, I’m good actually!  Don’t need any more of… whatever that is in my life, but you all enjoy!  I’ve got a movie about a crocodile in a basement to watch instead!  Does this horror film manage to bring the scares and the fun with its nifty little premise while ALSO giving me a valid excuse to avoid Midsommar?  Let’s find out!!

Haley (Kaya Scodelario) is a swimmer in college who’s been having trouble outperforming here peers which is bad news for her scholarship, but even WORSE is the fact that she now has to drive to the south of Florida to check on her dad (Barry Pepper) who for whatever reason isn’t answering his phone and is right in the path of a category 5 hurricane.  She just barely manages to get to her childhood home before the storm kicks into high gear and also manages to find her father, but it turns out that he’s stuck in the basement with a bite mark on his leg and at least one alligator that’s feeling rather smug about it.  So now they’re BOTH stuck in the basement in a small area where the pipes make it impossible for the gators to get to them, but the rain keeps on pouring and the basement keeps on filling which means they have to find a way out before they both drown; and even THEN they’re in the middle of a hurricane that could knock the house over given enough time so they have to find a way to make it through that as well!  Can Haley save her dad and use her amazing swimming skills to outsmart these vicious predators who seem particularly cross with them for some reason?  Why are there alligators in the basement in the first place, and could this basement situation just be the tip of the ice burg?  Is this all just an elaborate adaptation of that app game Where’s My Water!?

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Darn you, Swampy!  You have all the water now, what more do you want!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Rocket Man

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Rocketman and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Dexter Fletcher

As much as I enjoy the music of Elton John, this movie has some serious hurdles to overcome, that has left me less than confident about it up to this point.  Primarily, the film feels from top to bottom like a cash-in following the success of the truly awful Bohemian Rhapsody; not just because it’s another biopic about a musician from roughly the same time period, but because they even got the pickup director of that film to make this one in its entirety.  Maybe that’s overstating things a bit as Dexter Fletcher does have a few other films under his belt, and it’s not like it’ll be THAT hard to be better than one of the worst movies of 2018, but let’s just say my expectations are firmly set to MEH right up until the very last minute.  Does this manage to stand out as the better of the two rock biopics from the Oldies station, or will the faults of Bohemian Rhapsody look downright quaint after seeing this movie?  Let’s find out!!

Elton John (Taron Egerton), also known as Reginald Dwight, is a rock and roll superstar with hit song after hit song over the last five decades, yet how many of us REALLY know about the man behind the music?  Well after storming his way into a substance abuse support group (decked out in full on Maleficent regalia in case you thought this was going to be subtle), he’s more than willing to tell us all about it!  Our story begins in the suburbs of Britain with him as a little boy starved for affection from his mother and father (Bryce Dallas Howard and Steven Mackintosh), when one day it turns out he’s a born piano player who can play songs from ear and hones his skills for many, many, years!  After a few stints playing back-up for a bunch of soul bands, he finally finds his break in the form of Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) who is a song writer in need of a musician which is just in luck because Mr. John over here needs a song writer to give meaning to his great music!  From there it’s a never ending thrill ride of overnight success, burgeoning sexuality, and the inevitable crash and burn when living the high life becomes indistinguishable from being an addict!  Will Elton John get his life back on track after losing so much to booze, pills, and drugs?  Can a musician of his immense popularity live his life openly as a gay man without shattering everything he’s worked so hard to build up?  Will we get answers to burning questions like who IS the Tiny Dancer, and why were those Crocodiles rocking?

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Wait, are the Jets in Bennie and the Jets actually JET PACKS!?

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Cinema Dispatch: Trailer Talk (Sonic the Hedgehog)

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Sonic the Hedgehog is owned by Paramount Pictures and all the images you see in this trailer talk are the property of their respective owners

Directed by Jeff Fowler

Tis a day that we have been all dreading for… I don’t know, two months now?  Yeah, it looks like those horrible production skills were not in fact a mistimed April Fools prank and were leading up to an actual movie whose trailer has just been released.  I’m not gonna lie.  Whether or not this actually ends up looking good or is total hot garbage is immaterial to me because I’m looking forward to this thing no matter what form it takes.  Will it be the former which would be unbelievably impressive considering they have to work around that rather awful design, or are we stuck with the latter which is exciting in its own right just to see what depths a studio will sink to when given this monkey’s paw of a franchise?  Well the only way we’re gonna find out is diving right on in!  Okay, so right off the bat we see a blue blur of energy streak by on some empty country road which then speeds through a forest into what looks to be Peter Rabbit’s hole in the ground.  The place is adorned with various pieces of trash and snack foods he’s managed to scrounge up over the years, a giant stack of shoes which becomes somewhat suspect when you realize he wears the same pair all the time, and a cassette player because I guess kids are supposed to know what that is?  Oh, and it gets better!  The song that Sonic pops into the player and scores the entire trailer is none other than Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.

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I guess we’re officially past Eye of the Tiger being the go to inspirational music cue.  God, we’re all getting old…

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Cinema Dispatch: Pet Sematary

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Pet Sematary and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer

I don’t know about this one.  I mean I liked the original Pet Sematary and Stephen King adaptations in general, but the trailers are just not doing it for me.  For the most part I think I’m turned off by JUST how big of a tonal shift it is from a bright and colorful yet creepy tale of magic and grief into something that looks to be aping Hereditary which is doubly worrying considering the ONE BIG similarity between the two.  I have a certain limit when it comes to horror (mainly when you replace creepiness and suspense with misery and suffering), and I am not prepared to see a beloved classic from the eighties go down that same route just to chase a trend.  Still, even if the LOOK of the thing may be drastically different there’s still the original story which is quite well thought of for a reason, and I could just be looking at the original through rose tinted glasses.  I remember the movie in the broad strokes, but a lot of the nuance for me has been lost to time (it’s had to of been a decade at least since I saw it) and perhaps this one will do a great job of recreating all that I’ve forgotten about the original!  Wishful thinking perhaps, but there’s only one way to find out!!

The Creed family has just moved to a little out of the way country town in the middle of Maine (because nothing spooky ever happens THERE!) so that the father Louis (Jason Clarke) could take a less demanding job at a University hospital which will allow him to spend more time with his kids Ellie and Gage (Jeté Laurence and Hugo Lavoie/Lucas Lavoie) as well as his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) who’s already getting some bad vibes from this place right off the bat.  Eh, maybe it’s just nerves from her TRAGIC BACKSTORY that I’m sure will come into play later in the movie!  Anyway, Ellie learns about a place in the woods behind their house called the Pet Sematary where children (who don’t know how to spell) bury their dead pets in some sort of local ritual.  This is all well-known and expanded upon by the Creed family’s neighbor Jud (John Lithgow) who’s lived here all his life and may know even more about this place than he’s letting on.  Now as the family seems to finally be settling in, tragedy strikes as Ellie’s cat Churchill is hit by a truck on the road RIGHT outside the house (SEEMS A LITTLE BIT DANGEROUS IF YOU ASK ME!) and now Louis has to break the bad news to her which is not going to be pleasant, but Jud has an idea on maybe fixing this problem which may be more than just him being neighborly.  What kind secrets does this little town have that Jud can show Louis, and what will it end up costing the both of them in the process?  Will Louis be able to live with the knowledge that Jed is about to reveal, and what will happen in his own life to temp him to abuse this mysterious power?  Seriously, is that cat gonna get its own spinoff!?  The filmmakers are just in LOVE with that thing!

 

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“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. HIIIIISSSSSSS!!”

 

 

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